Getting rid of old school stuff

Secretly, one of the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher was that I could finally write on the blackboard as much as I’d want… However, with the arrival of the Interactive whiteboards (IWB) in the classroom, my plans have changed a little bit… I guess I’ll have to adapt to this new technology (which is definitely not a bad thing)!

To get familiar with the IWB, I read about eight key principles for effective IWB teaching. I must admit that there are many things I could do with my IWB that I couldn’t do with a regular blackboard. I could use the blank page to put my whole lesson plan on it. That way, students would be able to follow with me and they would know how many more activities they need to put up with before recess, for example. What is also good about the blank page is that you can keep all the previous pages you wrote. If you need to go back to the notes you wrote at any previous time, you can always come back to them and show them to the students. Another thing that is nice is that if you make any modifications to your lesson directly on the board, you can save the things you added or edited and keep them for the next lesson or even later. Unfortunately, what you write on a blackboard is gone after you erase it to make room for other notes…

I think IWB is also a really important tool for activities in which I need the whole group attention. For example, while correcting homework, I could put the questions on the board or the corrected version. It’s a great way to provide visual support for the kids and avoid wasting time on questions like “could you spell it?” and “what page are we at?”. To save some time, there is also the possibility to use the open canvas provided with the IWB software. I think these could also be good timesavers. Of course, I think it’s important to go beyond the actual IWB and remember that your screen becomes a direct access to the whole world through Internet. There are a lot of resources where you can find activities designed especially for teachers.

I think that everytime I can put kids and technology together, I have a better chance to succeed as a teacher. After all, it’s a big part of their day-to-day environment and it is what they were born with. I think that it could really motivate them  to listen in class a little more. In addition, some studies show that IWB could play a role in the students’ achievement.

Now, I know that the blackboards may remind you of the time when you were little and  drawing with your friends on the asphalt (or is it just me?) but I think that teaching nowadays could really benefit from the use of the IWB. If you’re not yet convinced, try going over some tutorials to get started…

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